SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – It is something that has bothered Lewine Tapia for many years.
Did her older daughter know something about Rosie Tapia’s murder?
“Ever since Emo (Emilia) passed away, I just got a funny feeling that maybe she wasn’t telling me everything,” said Tapia.
Tapia suspected Rosie was at the wrong place at the wrong time when she was abducted.
In 1995, a day after she was taken, her body was found floating in the nearby canal. Her killer has never been found.
But Salt Lake City police always suspected Rosie’s oldest sister had something to do with her disappearance.
Emilia always denied that allegation even to her mother on her deathbed.
“When she was at the hospital, I asked her if she was hiding something from me?” Tapia said. “And she shook her head no. So, me as a mother I have to believe in her.”
Back in 1995, she was questioned by police and denied having a party the night Rosie disappeared. Her mother also agreed there was no evidence of a party at the apartment. Lewine Tapia and her husband were gone that night but returned later in the evening.
It was Emilia who helped develop the composite of a possible suspect. Two years ago, police released another composite from another witness.
But according to a private investigator, police always suspected she had something to do with the crime because of her ties to a gang.
“Emo (Emilia) may have been the target of violence and when they couldn’t find her they grabbed the next available person which was happened to be Rosie,” said Jason Jensen. “The reason for that thinking was that that bedroom used to be Emilia’s and Esmeralda’s bedroom at the time.”
Jensen said Emilia was associated with the 21st gang. Their theory was that perhaps a rival gang member wanted to hurt Emilia even after Rosie was killed.
“So we’re exploring the possibility that maybe this is gang related but we don’t know yet,” Jensen said. But sometimes you have to look at things in a different light to get different results.”
For now, it’s uncertain whether Emilia died with a secret.
“I don’t know if she was telling the truth,” said Lewine Tapia. “I will never know now. Every night I go to sleep and I ask Emo ‘if you don’t have anything hiding from me then you and Rosie should get together and help me find the person who took Rosie.'”
Jensen said he is seeking information from people that were associated with the Salt Lake City’s westside gang. He can be found through his Facebook page.